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Never Insert These Devices Without Proper Lubrication

Since the widespread availability of surgical lubricants, many medical professionals have included lubrication as part of the process for a wide variety of procedures. Not all of these procedures necessarily require lubrication, but it is more pleasant for the patient experience and help the procedure go a little more smoothly. However, there are some procedures that should never be performed without the use of surgical lubricant. Follow along as we review some of the common procedures that require a surgical lubricant for more than just patient comfort and which devices should never be inserted without proper lubrication.

Foley Catheter

A Foley catheter tube, although made of soft, flexible rubber, should always be lubricated prior to insertion. The urethra is a very small orifice that does not create its own lubrication. Without proper lubrication, the tubing can easily penetrate the sensitive cells of the urethral lining or cause bleeding from friction. Ensuring that a good portion of the Foley catheter tubing is lubricated with a bacteriostatic surgical lubricant will ensure that you make the procedure go smoothly while helping to reduce the chances of infection.

Nasogastric Tube

The nasogastric tube is inserted into the nose, down the esophagus, and into the stomach. Once the tubing has passed the epiglottis, it will then be lubricated by the body and should be fairly easy to swallow. However, at the insertion point through the nasal passage, an unlubricated nasogastric tube can be much more than just uncomfortable. The nasal passage is curved shaped to help prevent environmental contaminants from having a quick route into the body, allowing the nose to function as a filter before the air enters the lungs. If the nasogastric tube is not properly lubricated, it will have a difficult time curving with the body’s anatomy and may not make it to its destination without a great deal of internal damage to the patient. The same guidelines apply to a nasopharyngeal airway insertion.


The rectum has no self-lubricating properties and its walls are prone to damage caused by friction. Because this body cavity is home to millions of bacteria, it is not an ideal location for friction-induced tears or tissue compromise. It is important to always use a lubricant to insert the enema tip — as well as a scope for a colonoscopy, or fingers for digital disimpaction or a prostate exam.

Devices that can be inserted without lubrication if the need demands it include a rectal suppository and vaginal speculum or transvaginal ultrasound wand. However, you should only forgo the use of surgical lubricants in these procedures if there is no other option at the time. If it is available, lubricating jelly should always be used to insert a foreign object into any orifice or body cavity other than the mouth.

At HR Pharmaceuticals, we are proud to be the industry’s leader in surgical lubricants for medical procedures. Throughout the world, medical practitioners trust Surgilube® Surgical Lubricant for all of their patient’s needs. To stock your facility, shop our products online today.